Spend a Week in Love

with Your Job

Think of a person you know who seems to have a job that perfectly fits them. You wonder: How did they find that?  How did they find that unique fit for them, their lifestyle, and their individual strengths?

I’m going to tell you their secret: They didn’t find it, they built it. Little by little, they took the best of their job and made it the most of their job. They took the role they started in and molded it, day by day, to fit their strengths. We know that 73% of the American workforce believe they have the opportunity to modify their job to fit their strengths better, but only 18% say that they play to their strengths every day. So, while the majority of us know that we can mold our current roles – most people still don’t. 73% of the American workforce believes they have the opportunity to modify their job to fit their strengths better, but only 18% play to their strengths every day. Why aren’t we doing more? Click To Tweet

Here’s the simplest way to start: Spend a week in love with your work. Start with a blank pad of paper, make two columns, one labeled ‘Loved It’ one labeled ‘Loathed It’. Anytime over the week when you do an activity and you feel a sign of love (you look forward to it, time flies by, you’re in flow, you’re energized) write it down. Anytime you feel an aversion to an activity in your day (you procrastinate, push it off, time drags on while you’re doing it) write it down under the “loathe” column. Stay alert, be present, and take emotional stock of the week.

Then, deliberately fill your week with the activities you love. Use it as scaffolding to elevate how you spend your time, until gradually you’re doing more and more of what you love. It doesn’t need to be exponentially more –  in fact, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that doctors who spend just 20% of their time doing what they love have a far lower risk of burnout. And while there is a linear increase in burnout risk as the percentage point drops below 20%, there isn’t a commensurate decrease in burnout above 20%. Which means: a little love goes a long way. A little love goes a long way: Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that doctors who spend just 20% of their time doing what they love had a far lower risk of burnout. Click To Tweet

To build a job that is the best expression of the best of you, spend a week in love with your work and tilt your job to those loves. You can be in the 18% who finds love-in-work.


  1. Geof June 18, 2019 at 4:20 AM - Reply

    I actually did this in the last ten years of my career and loved my job. People couldn’t believe I retired. The 20% is interesting. I don’t think you meant to say the other 80% is work one loathes. I actually used your loved/loathed tool to identify those activities. And I added a Neutral category and tracked the time in each of the three categories. I suspect the 20 % loved is good as long as most of the other 80% is neutral.

  2. Carlos Martinez June 18, 2019 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    How can we do this in practice with folks say that are in a production line, in manufacturing? Have you seen it work in that situation?

  3. Chris Raines June 18, 2019 at 7:41 AM - Reply

    Marcus – great update on your old red / green exercise from the show you did with Oprah. I use this EVERY session with folks as we work on Strengths.
    Thanks for sharing too…love these posts!

  4. Jeremy Farrell June 18, 2019 at 11:58 AM - Reply

    @Carlos, do they know where the end-product is actually used, and how it (hopefully) improves some lives? Do they see which parts of their task or their role can become a stepping stone to something more meaningful? Do they know what behaviours / attitudes will take them off the line or from single task to multiple tasks? Some people know from their life outside of work what the love doing, and maybe you could ask them what that is and what their task performance quality has to be in order to expand their role? Does one of them like organising things, but you outsource organising the annual staff event, instead of taking them off the line for a few weeks to organise it – and then you get to see what they are made of. Just thoughts…..

  5. Maud Freelance June 21, 2019 at 5:58 AM - Reply

    THis is fantastic and something I do in part everyday. I’m going to super charge it though with your advise! Thank you Mr. Marcus.

  6. Kelly Kinnebrew October 28, 2022 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    Thank you so much for this blog- I have just found it. Love the work and I integrate it with my own. I focus on performance management models and one of the things I’ve had some success with in a small set of open HR or OD leaders is to have people who are being reviewed write tbeir own perf review / feedback convo categories aligned with their top strengths and then the adjacent knowledge and skills that that person wants to get better at.

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